Holy Jolokia products are available at the Chile Pepper Institute. Photograph by Douglas Merriam.

NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY’S Chile Pepper Institute helped spread the love for India’s bhut jolokia pepper, sometimes called a ghost pepper because of how similar the words bhüt (Butanese) and bhut (ghost) sound. But maybe it’s also because of the way the pepper’s heat sneaks up on you. Boo! It racks up one million Scoville units, placing it among the hottest chiles on earth. The institute packs it into barbecue sauce, hot sauce, rubs, salsa, and more, to raise research dollars and scholarship money. Don’t let the fruity fragrance of these Holy Jolokia products fool you. Count to three and the heat will hit, along with a mix of bitter and sweet flavors that are intriguingly complex. Test your ceiling level of pain blended with pleasure. If you’re like me, a little dab’ll do ya! (Also try the mix for Dr. B’s Bhut-Kickin Brownies—if you dare.) 

To purchase Holy Jolokia products, visit the Chile Pepper Institute (when open) on New Mexico State University’s Las Cruces campus or order online.

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